Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Reflection on Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.

I want to thank my mom for all that she has been for me in all the different phases of my life, for staying close when I needed her and for allowing me to fly when I needed to spread my wings. She is and has always been beautiful, soft and loving and I love her very much.

One of my recent poems is entitled 'Me and You and Mom' and it is a reflection upon the complex relationships between mother and child ... and between our earthly 'mother' and our divine Mother. That poem says:

To be a woman
and a mother
and a daughter
covers a vast territory
of love and longing,
of self and other,
of my skin and your skin,
and a fragile, fragile space
where the boundaries blend.

It requires vast courage
to live in the ambivalence
of that borderless land.
The dragons do know this
and they smile in their sleep
as they dream of smoke and fire.

On this Mother's Day, I will be taking a moment to stand in silence at 1 p.m. with other women around the world as part of Standing Women, yet another of the millions of brilliant impulses born in a small circle of women which sends out ripples of transformation that we will never be able to fully measure. I hope you will be standing in your community.

And I cannot sign off without acknowledging the brilliant words of Julia Ward Howe who called us all to the celebration of Mother's Day with these words in 1870. Julia, I hope you know that this pebble you tossed into the pond over 125 years ago is still sending out ripples ... and that the women of the world are still bringing their creativity and passion to co-create a peaceful, sustainable and loving world.

Mother's Day Proclamation
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing her own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God---
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.


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